Stephen Colbert has responded to an online backlash from alt-right supporters and LGBT activists on his Late Show.
The US TV show presenter said he “would do it again”, after being called “homophobic” and asked to apologise after making an on-air joke about Donald Trump and President Putin engaging in a sexual act.
“So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” he said on Wednesday’s show, days after the hashtag #FireColbert went viral on Twitter.
The fact that Colbert can make homophobic statements shows his privilege & systematic oppression of minority groups.#FireColbert
— Scott Presler (@ScottPresler) May 3, 2017
“I had a few choice insults for the president. I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight,” he said.
The “insults” were seen as a step too far by Trump supporters and gay activists alike.
“The fact that Colbert can make homophobic statements shows his privilege & systematic oppression of minority groups,” said gay activist and Republican Scott Presler.
“Colbert needs to apologise to the American people! Or someone needs to punch his lights out,” wrote another user.
At the top of Wednesday’s broadcast, Colbert mocked the trending topic, asking: “Still? Am I still the host?”
“I’m still the host!,” he added.
“Homophobia for the right cause, with the right targets, is good homophobia, apparently,” said journalist Glenn Greenwald.
A website called “Fire Colbert” was created, but many users boycotted the social media movement.
Star Trek veteran and gay rights activist George Takei said: “Now the little right wing mushrooms want to fire Colbert because he made fun of the Troll King. Waaaa! It’ll go as well as boycott Hamilton.”
“I’m not going to repeat the phrase,” Colbert said on Wednesday’s show.
“But I just want to say, for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love in their own way, is to me an American hero. I think we can all agree on that,” he added.
“I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”